Biologist from the University of Los Andes with a Master's degree in regional and urban development planning from CIDER and a PhD in Natural Sciences from the University of Amsterdam. He has worked in the Colombian Amazon region since 1981 on issues related to traditional knowledge and the management of the tropical forest by indigenous communities together with his wife, the anthropologist María Clara van der Hammen, with whom he has published a series of articles and books on the management of natural resources with an emphasis on wildlife use, artisanal and commercial fishing through community monitoring.
In 2018, he received the National Environmental Research Award Alejandro Ángel Escobar for the work “Piraiba: An Illustrated Ecology of the Great Catfish of the Amazon”, co-authored with the local fisherman Luis Ángel Trujillo and the indigenous artist Confucio Hernández, a member of the Uitoto people and responsible for the more than one hundred illustrations that are part of this study and publication.
He has contributed to the broad recognition and dissemination of traditional and local knowledge through public presentations, art exhibitions, participation in seminars and a large number of publications authored by indigenous people and peasants. His contribution to the development of indigenous art is reflected in the permanent support of the talent of traditional knowledge holders, such as Abel Rodríguez, from the Nonuya indigenous people, who received the Prince Claus Award from the Dutch Crown in 2014.
Carlos Rodríguez has promoted the dialogue of knowledge between the academy and traditional and local knowledge, establishing a platform for permanent interaction with the Amazonian indigenous world through highly refined collections of material culture. He is developing the Wood Museum or Museum of the Tropical Forest as a visual and pedagogical strategy to learn the rainforest´s secrets through a magnificent collection of small wood samples with more of 400 species of trees, very detailed illustrations of each species made by indigenous youths, and more than 150 illustrations depicting the ecological relationships of the fauna associated to each single tree species.
On the other hand, he is a member of the editorial committees of the magazines Colombia Amazónica and Mundo Amazónico, among other scientific journals, as well as an occasional lecturer at the National, Los Andes, Javeriana and Jorge Tadeo Lozano universities in Colombia. He is currently the director of Tropenbos Colombia, an NGO that seeks to contribute to the good management and conservation of the forest through local research, academic research, communication and art by promoting dialogue of knowledge. Through this organization he has also made contributions in educational proposals for indigenous peoples and in the generation of productive alternatives for the tropical forest such as the participatory productive restoration initiative.